For Your Splendor

A few weeks ago, I swerved my car into the parking lot adjacent to the Chick Fil A restaurant six miles from my country house and glanced at my watch, so glad that I was on time. I knew we’d only have a few minutes. Most of the parking lot at the restaurant had already been roped off and overtaken with a stage, large speakers and lights. Fold out chairs were set in rows facing the platform but I know a little about the spiritual side of Houston and that most of those listeners would only sit in those chairs until the first note. Then they’d be up on their feet. This is a hot, sweaty, some-might-even-say-homely town in a lot of ways but it is a fair and lovely place to those who love Jesus. Maybe one of the reasons is that our area is home to a really fabulous, award-winning Christian contemporary radio station – KSBJ, 89.3 FM – that serves as a central station for unity, that turns up the volume on worship and still fights harder to win souls than awards. They host something called “Brown Bag Concerts” throughout the year where they bring in various CCM artists to do concerts at different Chick Fil A restaurants around the city. (I feel so sorry for you – truly I do – if you do not live where there is a Chick Fil A or, worse yet, if you have no idea what one is. Move.)

That day the artist going up on stage was Christy Nockels. My pastor of 25 years, John Bisagno, used to say, “All people bring gifts to the church. Some people are gifts to the church.” Christy would be one of those. A year or so ago (not sure how long it’s been), we invited her to one of our LPM Tuesday night community Bible studies. As I sat to the side and watched the women packed in that sanctuary and the aisles, lifting their faces throne-ward, many of them with their eyes closed and their hands raised, and listened to their voices in almost perfect pitch with hers, I had a revelation of sorts. I realized that in so many ways, Christy is to this generation what Amy Grant was to mine. She helps place words on the tongues of true worshipers who want so much to express themselves to God but don’t always know how to say what they feel. That makes a person a gift.

As I got out of my car and headed across to Chick Fil A, I spied my two friends, Christy and Nathan, and they were grinning at me just like I was grinning at them. We hugged then headed into the small RV so we could chat a little while. Mike McCloskey, who was managing the evening for them, asked me if I wanted anything from the restaurant while we were visiting and, of course, I did. “Nuggets and an Ice Dream? Oh, and Polynesian Sauce?” And in minutes, I had them. While I spooned Ice Dream into my mouth (always spoon down, for some reason), we conversed quickly like a couple of people on borrowed time.  We talked mostly about their kids, my kids, and my grandkids, and did a bit of musing about Passion 2012 and had some wild thoughts about Passion 2013. We got out pictures on our iPhones and even watched a video their son Noah had created. (Actually, it was astonishingly impressive. But I guess his gene pool is nothing to whine about, now is it?)

Mike reminded them about the time and Christy glanced over at me and said, “Hey, Beth, do you care if we rehearse one song really quickly?”

“Absolutely not. Please, do!”

And so I sat right there on the couch in that RV, six inches from Christy to my right and Nathan across from us, leaning in with his guitar. We were all three crouched in about 4 square feet. And I listened to a song I’d never heard from a voice truly as beautiful as any I’ve ever heard. The album is out now so you may well have already heard it but I really need you to join me in the intimacy – no, the strange sanctity, really – of that small RV and hear it again. With nobody else listening. Just you. Just the voice singing. Just that guitar. And Jesus.

 

“I’m so concerned with what I look like from the outside.

Will I blossom into what You hope I’ll be.

Yet You’re so patient just to help me see.

The blooms come from a deeper seed that You planted in me.

Sometimes it’s hard to grow when everybody’s watching.

To have your heart pruned by the one who knows best.

And though I’m bare and cold, I know my season’s coming.

And I’ll spring up in Your endless faithfulness.

With my roots deep in You, I’ll grow the branch that bears the fruit.

And though I’m small, I’ll still be standing in the storm.

‘Cause I am planted by the river by Your streams of living water.

And I’ll grow up strong and beautiful, all for Your splendor, Lord.

So with my arms stretched out, I’m swaying to Your heartbeat.

I’m growing with the sound of Your voice calling.

You’re bringing out the beauty that You have put in me.

For Your joy and for Your glory falling.”

 

Written by Christy Nockels and Nathan Nockels, Copyright 2012 sixsteps Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/Sweater Weather Music (ASCAP) (Admin. at EMICMGPublishing.com)

 

As that melody floated in the air, I pictured Annabeth running down the path from my house to Big Pops and Memmaw’s, sunlight dancing in her dark honey hair.  I pictured Amanda and Melissa, each of them growing up before my eyes in Christ. So, so different from the other, just the way they’ve always been, but equally breathtaking. My mind cased across the faces of so many women I’ve seen, faces reflecting the light bouncing from an open page of Scripture. Oh, now, you know I love our brothers. But I’m not called so much to our brothers. I’m called mostly to sisters. And somehow the lyrics touched me in a deep place for all of us. Deep enough that I’ve thought of it every day since then and played it many times in the same car I pulled into that parking lot. Now I know it almost by heart. But that day I knew it more by faith. More by growing experience.

I want to say to you today that I watch many of you fight this good fight, trying to keep your equilibrium in this crazy culture where – for the most part – a woman is as desirable as she is sensual. Or, on the other side of the spectrum, she’s as valuable as she is marketable. I want to cheer you on and say to you, Good Job! And Don’t Give Up! And don’t forget, no matter what this world tells you, that the most gorgeous blooms come from a deeper seed. The lyrics ring so true. “It’s hard to grow up when everybody’s watching.” And sometimes God lets others behold the pruning process in us when we’d just as soon have done it in private. But He always knows what He’s doing. And He is only doing you good. Never evil. Never harm. He cannot be unbiased toward you. The blood of His Son flows through your veins. Even through the silence He is talking. Even in the stillness, He is moving. He is hemming you in. He is closing in on you to open you up to Him.

All that you are going through, all that you are learning, is bringing out the beauty that He has put in you. And some of those same folks who watched the pruning will see the blooming.

I just want you to know that I already see it happening. And others already see it, too. And if you’d look really close, not into your rear view mirror, but into His Word, I think you could even catch a glimpse of it.

You get more beautiful by the day, Darling Child. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t decide it can’t matter all that much. “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do.” (Hebrews 6:10) He will see to you until you are stunning for His splendor.

I know your season’s coming.

 

 

 

 

 

PS. I totally forgot until this morning (Tuesday) that we snapped this picture that day in the RV on my iPhone. If you’re like me, you love pictures in blog posts. If you’re not like those of us who do, stop reading now. Laughing. Man, I so love you guys.

 

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305 Responses to “For Your Splendor”

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Comments:

  1. 251
    Lynda Rickey says:

    Beth, Love pictures in the blog, love to worship to lyrics that stick in your heart, love Chick-Fil-A, love you and love, love, love my sweet Jesus who gives us every good and perfect thing (and that includes the pruning)!

  2. 252
    shirley pierce says:

    I’ve had you e-mail, but lost it so I decided to let you know this way. Started you study on James in Feb. Only missed one class. The reason I’m writing is to let you know I learned the Book of James and recited it this morning. He is one of my favorites now God Blessin on you always

  3. 253
    natalie says:

    Momma Beth-

    Thank you as always! I am being prunned right now and it honestly feels as if i might die! I am giving up something i have negotiated with the Lord on for at least 3 years.

    It is hard as heck and i feel as if i surely wont live through it. But God whispers in my soul, “Will you do it for my glory? I promise you joy in the end of obedience.”

    Oh Lord sustain me long enough to be faithful to you. Thank you that I can do all things through Christ and be free of all addtictions and obsessions!

    Momma Beth and Siestas please pray for me to finish well.
    Natalie

    • 253.1
      Kelly says:

      Natlie…I just had to write to you, (praying you will see this!). Your words, they are my words, my heart also. I could have written these exact words! I hope that encourages you to know you are not alone, (of course, Jesus is with you also!). Your words encouraged me greatly!! Praying for you Natalie!

      • Natalie says:

        Kelly- I did see it and I never check back when I leave comments. God is so sweet to work through you to bless me. Praying for you also!

    • 253.2
      Erin says:

      Natalie –
      Yes. Me too. Me too.

  4. 254
    moongirl says:

    I have no idea how I missed this post last week, but it could not have been more timely last week or this week! THANK YOU!!! It was very re-confirming in this season for me!! THANK YOU!! Going to go listen to the song right now on Spotify!!

  5. 255
    Peggy says:

    I so needed this today. Brought me to tears — the kind we all get when we just know that we know that we know.

    Thank you.

  6. 256
    Terri says:

    Beth, I just had to send a quick note to thank you for introducing me to Christy Nockels! I had never heard of her. I immediately bought her latest CD from itunes. In one day I have managed to listen to all the tracks a good five times! The lyrics seem to be speaking to me in this particular season of my life. A gift. Thank You.

  7. 257
    moongirl says:

    I was just listening to this song since you had mentioned it… and I just paused and thought, she’s singing about Isaiah 61:3, and Ez 47:12. Beautiful!! It is key to be watered by the “water” that **flows from the sanctuary**! (We gotta be meeting Him in the *secret place* regularly!!!** It results in continuously bearing fresh fruit that nourishes, and leaves that heal!!

  8. 258
    Erin says:

    I’ve read this post four times. I like it. Thank you:)

  9. 259
    Denise says:

    “He will see to you until you are stunning for His splendor.” Wow!

    This post is wonderful for so many reasons. I was reminded of the first time I heard you speak at a Passion conference in Nashville quite a few years ago. You spoke so lovingly of your biological daughters and to all your “other” daughters. I have loved Christy and Nathan from the time of their Watermark days. How fun to enjoy time with them like you did. And, to top it all off, you wove an amazing message in this post that spoke straight to my heart. Thank you!

  10. 260
    Katie says:

    Gosh I’ve missed this blog. Mama Beth, I love you SO!

  11. 261
    Ashleigh says:

    thanks for your awesome encouragement beth! i so needed to hear something you said in this post. God knows what we need! He is so so GOOD!

  12. 262
    Sierra says:

    Hi Beth,
    You are my hero! Thanks so much for posting and sharing so much of yourself on this blog. I have gotten much needed encouragment so many times…
    God has used your testimony (and others) to encourage me to keep pressing on. That God shines best through cracked pots! Thanks so much for sharing the ugliness from your past…it is hugely encouraging to see what a beautiful woman of God you are inside and out for the glory of God, inspite, or maybe even because of; what happened to you.
    I feel called to teach to. I am such a mess though! I have been in a long wilderness season but I know God is using it to change me. It is extremely tough and sometimes I feel like I am just holding on trying to get through one day at a time. But looking at your life and the hard season you went through, I am reminded that it DOES get better. A breakthrough will come. He WILL use my life for His Glory!

    Thanks SO MUCH for just being who you are and for pouring out your life to encourage so many.
    -Sierra

  13. 263

    Hello There. I found your weblog the usage of msn. This is an extremely smartly written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

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